Jihad al-Akbar

There is a consensus among all the well established Sufi masters that the foundation stone of Tasawwuf and spiritual path (sulook) is to cleanse the nafs (lower self) of the blame worthy moral traits (razail).

This is achieved by the aspirant using his determination (himmat) to act against the desires of his nafs.

This acting against the nafs is called the spiritual struggle (mujahidah), endeavor (riyadah) and jihad al-akbar.

Neither excessive remembrance (dhikr), offering supererogatory salah, recitation of litanies and Holy Quran nor even the observance of the essentials (faraiz) disciplines the nafs. This is because the role of these things in removal of blame worthy characteristics is that of secondary assistance and not primary treatment. The individual will receive their reward and merits respectively. However, it is against the norms set by Allah that  the nafs be disciplined without meticulous  spiritual struggle (mujahidah).

This is the reason we observe that most of the religious individuals are inflicted with blame worthy moral characteristics in spite of their extra worship.

Ahzab tahzib un nafus,  Munajat e maqbool, (zamimajat, Saeedi) page 301